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The Newfoundland fishery: ten years after the moratorium

  • Ecology
  • Economics
  • Geography


Excessive overfishing combined with negative environmental conditions led to the decimation of the northern cod stock and its closure to commercial fishing in 1992. During the ensuing dozen years, the stock has not recovered. This paper considers the current state of the Newfoundland economy and the Newfoundland fishery and asks whether the lessons of the earlier day have been learned. The answer appears to be no. The main mover of the economy is exogenous to the fishery, the unemployment rate remains high, currently more than twice the Canadian rate, and the population of the province has fallen by ten percent. With respect to the fishery, although the decimated groundfish have been replaced by shellfish and the nominal value of landings has doubled since 1992, the fishery still has excess capacity, fishermen and fish plant workers generally earn low incomes, and the fishery remains heavily subsidized.

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